Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pay Back Value remuneration concept

My previous post talking about money is a continuation of my concerns about what I've also called the Internet money conundrum--how do you make money on the Internet?

By going to the base of what money is, and considering how our current system must be inefficient I began to realize a concept that might be more, and my example company in explaining it is one of my favorite news organizations--The New York Times.

Despite being a premier information source that arguably gives great value, the Times has faced declining revenue!!! That is an apparent paradox in many ways.

After all, money is a medium of exchange, abstracting value for use at some future time versus barter where you traded immediately: The New York Times continues to give great value in terms of information and the Internet allows more people not fewer to experience that value with a cheaper distribution system, yet the conundrum is in declining revenue in the face of that greater value and wider distribution of value.

So what gives?

In analyzing the problem considering my own usage I've noted that I'm a far more regular reader of the New York Times than I was before it was available on the Web, and I'm not willing to pay for a subscription not because I don't value the newspaper, but because I don't want all the content a subscription would give. I want a la carte, but I also refuse to pay for an article before I've read it!!!

However, I feel a sense of value, often, from articles after I've read them, and before you go, no way, this idea can't be to pay later, consider music and songs.

Would you buy a song unheard? If you had to pay for music without ever hearing it first, would you? Maybe if you were a major fan willing to pick up any music that came from your favored artist, but most people wouldn't.

In fact, I know that I will often buy a song after having heard it dozens or more times, and some songs that I like I'll hear often on the radio or see music videos and never buy them at all, and just not own them (and not download them illegally either).

Back to newspapers--simple reality is that I pick and choose what I read, recognizing value after I've read it, like how I recognize that I like a song, after I've heard it!

So now to the concept--what if after I read a New York Times article that I liked, I saw a PBV button at the bottom, with 25 cents listed as its value?

Click it, and 25 cents is applied to the PBV account. The Pay Back Value account.

When the value of that account reaches $1 U.S. then my credit card is automatically charged.

I am purchasing the articles in that The New York Times will maintain a database of such articles that I've paid back value for, and may give me search information about my choices--for instance I may find that Gail Collins is my favorite columnist based on PBV, or that I tend to see value in articles about apple orchards.

I know, an immediate objection is, what if people just don't pay?

Well, they're not paying now! But I think some people, like myself, DO see value in the articles being read but having seen that only after reading, simply are lost with no option to pay back that value.

Money is a medium of exchange. Certainly one system of exchanging value for goods and services has dominated but the Internet is revealing faults with the old ways, as providers of significantly valuable services and products, like The New York Times, face declining revenue--a contradiction.

The music industry already has something like my Pay Back Value concept, where you get to hear a song--often many times--before you purchase it, possibly the solution to the "Internet money conundrum" is to follow that business model more closely.

The idea given above is open source, which means free, but not without attribution!!!

That is, you have to reference back to the source. I'd like to note that out of curiosity I checked to see if anyone had PayBackValue.com, and when I checked, that domain was available.

So why not get it myself and try to sell this idea?

Well, it's just an idea--who knows if it will work?

There are any number of upfront costs and issues to deal with in getting it out there in the real world, and I have experience with how difficult it can be.

Besides, I have LOTS of ideas, but little progress in getting value for those ideas, so for me, the recognition could be worth a lot of money. A LOT of money.

And, I'd love the chance to pay back value myself!!!

I will not subscribe to The New York Times because the full newspaper has more information than I want, and I will not pay upfront for articles before I read them--they may suck!!!

But I would be willing to make a payment, which is nominal for legal reasons (think about it) after I read an article and see value in that article, as I repeat again, money is a medium of exchange. We exchange it to pass value between each other, abstracting that value to be used at a time of one's choosing. I'd like to give The New York Times value back, for them to use at their choosing, for particular articles from which I gain value.

James Harris
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